DOGSAFE Canine First Aid
Easter is the time to celebrate traditions, hunt for chocolate bunnies, and squeeze colourful long-eared plush toys, but not all the festivities are safe for our four-legged companions. Michelle Sevigny, creator of DOGSAFE Canine First Aid courses, urges families to be mindful of the dangers that the Easter Bunny may bring and offers these canine safety tips:
1. Keep chocolate bunnies out of reach as chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, which if ingested by a dog, may cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, hyperactivity, tremors and can be fatal. Dark chocolate has the highest concentration of theobromine but even a 20 ounce milk chocolate bunny may cause serious problems for a 10 pound dog. White chocolate does not contain theobromine but still contains a lot of sugar and fat which may cause stomach upset if ingested.
2. Easter candies sweetened with xylitol may cause a drop in blood sugar, resulting in vomiting, weakness, depression, loss of coordination and seizures if ingested by dogs. If candy wrappers are also ingested, intestinal blockages may occur.
3. Plastic Easter grass is not digestible and may cause choking and intestinal blockages if dogs attempt to eat it. Keep Easter baskets out of reach of dogs.
4. Tulip bulbs and daffodils make their appearances around Easter time and are poisonous to dogs if ingested. Tulip bulbs may cause diarrhea, vomiting and excessive salivation while daffodils may cause gastrointestinal disorders, shivering, convulsions, muscle tremors and even heart arrhythmias. While Easter lilies are extremely toxic to cats, they are not toxic to dogs.
5. Watch your dog around the holiday meal. Ham bones, discarded plastic food wrap, table scraps and other holiday meal items may be stolen from the table or garbage by your dog when your focus is on your guests. Bones and plastic wrap may cause choking or intestinal blockages and table scraps may cause stomach upset resulting in vomiting or diarrhea.
6. Plastic Easter eggs, toys and plush bunny parts (eg. the plastic eyes, stuffing) may cause choking and intestinal blockages if a dog ingests them while exploring the holiday household; keep well out of reach of curious canines.
7. Monitor Easter egg hunts as dogs may find the chocolate treats or small, plastic toys before the kids due to their superior noses; and count how many treats are hidden and recovered so that none are left behind.
8. Egg decorating supplies, including dyes, glitter, glue, paints and felt tip pens may be enticing to dogs and cause vomiting, diarrhea and general stomach upset if eaten. Choking and intestinal blockages may occur if your dog ingests the actual containers. Keep your dog away from the craft table, clean up the table and floor after decorating and keep the colourful, finished eggs out of your dog’s reach.
If you suspect that your dog has ingested a substance or object that they shouldn’t have, contact your veterinarian for treatment options. Learn more safety tips and what to do in an emergency by enrolling in a canine first aid course. For more information on DOGSAFE Canine First Aid courses, see www.dogsafe.ca.
DOGSAFE courses are offered throughout British Columbia and across Canada and United States by distance education. For more information, see www.dogsafe.ca.